The opinion of the court was delivered by: Jack B. Weinstein, United States Senior District Judge:
Plaintiff seeks an injunction, claiming that defendants, producers and
distributors of guns, have created a nuisance by their methods of sale.
See NAACP v. Acusport Corp., ___ F. Supp.2d ___ (E.D.N.Y. Sept. 23,
2002); NAACP v. Acusport Corp., ___ F. Supp.2d ___ (E.D.N.Y. Sept. 18,
2002). Funds to help abate are also sought. The case is set for trial on
November 18 at 10:00 a.m with
an advisory jury. See Fed.R.Civ.P. 39(c);
Fed.R.Civ.P. 16. The jury will be consulted on the issue of liability of
the defendants and, if liability is found, on the scope of the injunctive
relief necessary to abate the nuisance. A written questionnaire will be
used in selecting the jury. See Transcript of Conference of Sept. 9,
2002, NAACP v. Acusport (Nos. 99 CV 3999; 99 CV 7037) (E.D.N.Y. 2002).
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 39(c) provides that in any case in
which there is no right to a trial by jury the court may, on its own
initiative, try any issue with an advisory jury.
A. Right to a Trial By Jury
The Seventh Amendment preserves the right to a trial by jury in suits
at common law. U.S. Const. amend. VII; see also Fed.R.Civ.P. 38(a). This
right applies to suits analogous to common law actions recognized in 1791
at time of the ratification of the amendment; it does not apply to suits
analogous to 18th century equity cases. See Tull v. United States,
481 U.S. 412, 417 (1987). On the development of equity, see generally In
re Joint Eastern & Southern Districts Asbestos Litigation v. Falise,
878 F. Supp. 473 (E.D. & S.D.N.Y. 1995), and authorities there
cited: e.g., Julius Goebel, Jr., Cases and Materials on the Development
of Legal Institutions (1946); John R. Kroger, Supreme Court Equity,
1789-1835, and the History of American Judging, 34 Hous. L. Rev. 1425
(1998); Frederic W. Maitland, Equity, Also the Forms of Action at Common
Law (1929); 8 James Wm. Moore et al., Moore's Federal Practice § 38
App.102 (3rd ed. 2002); 1 John Norton Pomeroy, A Treatise on Equity
Jurisprudence (1881). See also N.Y. Jud. Law § 140-b.
An injunction is an equitable remedy; actions solely for injunctions do
not require trial by jury. See, e.g., Reich v. Tiller Helicopter
Services, Inc., 8 F.3d 1018, 1032 (5th Cir. 1993); Wilson v. Bailey,
934 F.2d 301, 305 n. 4 (11th Cir. 1991); Rodriguez v. Munoz, 808 F.2d 138,
142-43 (1st Cir. 1986); 8 James Wm. Moore et al, Moore's Federal Practice
§ 38.10[a][iii] (3rd ed. 2002). Actions to enjoin a public or a
private nuisance and for the recovery of costs incurred in abatement are
equitable. See In re Debs, 158 U.S. 564, 587-93 (1895); Mugler v.
Kansas, 123 U.S. 623 (1887); Conner v. City of Santa Ana, 897 F.2d 1487,
1493 (9th Cir. 1990); United States v. Wade, 653 F. Supp. 11, 13 (E.D.
Pa. 1984); 8 Moore, supra, § 38.30. As noted in In re Debs:
The jurisdiction of the court of chancery with
regard to public nuisances is founded on the
irreparable damage to individuals, or the great
public injury which is likely to ensue. Indeed, it
may be affirmed that in no well-considered [sic]
case has the power of a court of equity to interfere
by injunction in cases of public nuisance been
denied, the only denial ever being that of a
necessity for the exercise of that jurisdiction
under the circumstances of the particular case.
There is no right to a non-jury trial. A party may not insist upon a
bench trial. See Beacon Theaters v. Westover, 359 U.S. 500, 510, 511 n.
17 (1959); Fed.R.Civ.P. 39(c).
B. History and Purpose of the Advisory Jury
Reliance on advisory juries can be traced to the English Chancery
Court. See 8 Moore, supra, § 39.40. The chancellor in equity had
the right to convene an advisory jury "to have its `conscience
enlightened'." American Lumbermens Mut. Casualty Co. of Ill. v. Timms
& Howard, Inc., 108 F.2d 497, 500 (2d Cir. 1939), quoting Vosburg
Co. v. Watts, 221 F. 402, 408 (4th Cir. 1915). This power is codified in
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 39(c).
In addition to being specifically authorized under the Federal Rules,
advisory juries constitute a fundamental element of the American legal
system. See generally 9 Charles Alan Wright & Arthur R. Miller,
Federal Practice and Procedure. Federal Rules of Civil Procedure §
2335 (1995); 8 Moore, supra, § 39.40. They are authorized in almost
every state, pursuant to the state rules of civil procedure or the
judge's traditional equitable powers. See N.Y. C.P.L.R. 4212 (Consol.
2001); Ala. R. Civ. P. 39(c)(2002); Alaska R. Civ. P. 39(c)(2002); Ariz.
R. Civ. P. 39(m) (2002); Ark. R. Civ. P. 39(c)(2002); Cal. R. Ct. 377
(2002); Colo. R. Civ. P. 39(c) (2002); Gladstone v. Commercial Services
of Perry, Inc., 1999 WL 608679 at *1 (Conn. Super. Ct. 1999); Del.
Super. Ct. R. Civ. P. 39(c) (2002); D.C. R. Civ. P. 39(c) (2002); Vista
Centre Venture v. Unlike Anything, Inc., 603 So.2d 576, 578-79 (Fla.
Dist. Ct. App. 1992); Alta Anesthesia Associates of Georgia, P.C. v.
Gibbons, 537 S.E.2d 388, 391 (Ga. Ct. App. 2000); Haw. Rev. Stat. §
635-12(b) (2001); Idaho R. Civ. P. 39(c)(2002); In re S.G., 677 N.E.2d 920,
928 (Ill. 1997); Ind. R. Trial P. 39(B) (2002); Kan. Civ. P. Code Ann.
§ 60-239 (West 2001); Ky. R. Civ. P. 39.03 (Baldwin 2001); Me. R.
Civ. P. 39(d)(2002); Fine v. Cohen, 623 N.E.2d 1134, 1137 (Mass. App.
Ct. 1993); Mich. Ct. R. 39(D)(1) (2002); Minn. R. Civ. P. 39.02 (2002);
Miss. R. Civ. P. 50 cmt. (2002); Mo. R. Civ. P. 73.01 (2002); Mont. R.
Civ. P. 39(c)(2002); Synacek v. Omaha Cold Storage Terminals, Inc.,
526 N.W.2d 91, 94 (Neb. 1995); Nev. R. Civ. P. 39(c) (2002); Lussier v.
N.E. Power Co., 584 A.2d 179, 182 (N.H. 1990); N.J. R. Ct. 4:35-2
(2002); N.M. R. Civ. P. 1-039(B)(2002); N.C. R. Civ. P. 39(c)(2002);
N.D. R. Civ. P. 39(c)(2002); Ohio R. Civ. P. 39(C)(2002); Butcher v.
McGinn, 706 P.2d 878, 880 & n. 5 (Okla. 1985); Or. R. Civ. P.
51(D) (2002); Twitty v. Minnesota Mining & Mfg. Co.,
16 Pa. D. & C. 4th 458, 464 (1993); R.I. R. Civ. P. 39(c)(2002);
S.C. R. Civ. P. 39(c) (2002); S.D. R. Civ. P. 15-6-39(c) ...